Star Trek 9 (December 1980)

Star Trek #9

Dave Cockrum must have refused to draw faces and made the inker do it. It might explain why the features on the characters this issue appear to slide around their faces, Frank Springer had to get them all filled in.

Bad art aside, it’s not a bad issue. It’s nearly decent, but Pasko throws in a subplot about Kirk and some ex-girlfriend and then some other big coincidence. The ex-girlfriend is a weak character and Kirk doesn’t look anything like himself anyway, so it’s almost entirely out of place. When Pasko resolves it, he relies in the female character only he never did anything to build her up.

The rest of the issue has a somewhat predictable finish but also has a boring way of unfolding. Pasko can’t make it compelling, maybe because he mocks the danger. He shows one extreme, then a nearly comical one.

Very mixed bag.



Experiment in Vengeance!; writer, Martin Pasko; pencillers, Dave Cockrum and Frank Springer; inker, Springer; colorist, Carl Gafford; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Louise Jones; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Letter 44 2 (November 2012)

Letter 44 #2

Soule ups 44 this issue. He's got the same breakdown as far as plot–it's between the President and the shuttle crew, with digressions on both. There are also personalities popping up on the crew, which is very nice and rather well-handled. Soule doesn't go for stereotypes, especially not with the military guys.

Also not with the President. Letter 44 has some thinly veiled comparisons to Bush and Obama, with the Bush stand-in being the guy previous President who made the decision to bankrupt the country to prepare for alien invasion. Whether there will be Obama comparisons with drone warfare and so on remains to be seen, but the President of Letter 44 is one of the more intriguing characters because Soule continually makes him contradictory.

The only problem with this issue, which is fantastic otherwise, is Alburquerque's art. He confuses lots of lines with detail. It gets annoying real fast.



Writer, Charles Soule; penciller, Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque; colorist, Guy Major; letterer, Shawn DePasquale; editor, Jill Beaton; publisher, Oni Press.

Stray Bullets 40 (October 2005)

Stray Bullets #40

This issue is the story of Kevin’s father. Kevin is the bad guy who has kidnapped Virginia with badder guy Huss.

Kevin’s dad is deaf and he’s a drunk because a low level mobster took off one of his fingers and he can’t hear his kid trying to gang rape a teenage girl. Lapham’s aiming for the stars here as far as artistic ambition.

Oddly, he clearly thinks it’s a great idea–the storytelling device with the deaf guy moving in front of all this action and not being aware of it. But the art’s crap, so it’s not like he worked on it.

Lapham also thinks it’s a good idea to reduce a character who was once one of the best female comic book characters to a mannequin who’s single purpose to be exploited. Apparently, Lapham can’t do anything else with Bullets but assault, rape or molest Virginia.

It’s repugnant.



Zippity Doo-Dah!; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editors, Renee Miller and Maria Lapham; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Letter 44 1 (October 2013)

Letter 44 #1

Writer Charles Soule isn't doing anything fresh with Letter 44 so why does it feel so new? Because he's doing thoughtful science fiction in an era where thoughtful science fiction isn't mainstream anymore. 44 feels like it could have been a movie–or TV mini-series–from the seventies and no one would have questioned it.

The setup is simple. The new President finds out about an alien device in the asteroid belt. The story goes between him processing and reacting to this information and the crew aboard the vessel sent to investigate. I'd say, if it were a seventies movie, Burt Lancaster would be the president but he was a fit guy so I'll be the would have wanted to be on the space ship.

It's engaging stuff throughout and Soule doesn't shy away from being overly intelligent.

Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque's art is fine.

44's successful so far.



Writer, Charles Soule; penciller, Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque; colorist, Guy Major; letterer, Shawn DePasquale; editor, Jill Beaton; publisher, Oni Press.

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